Port Ludlow Marina and Totempole

We love to play tourist at home, and that includes going to dinner at fun restaurants we wouldn’t normally dine at.  Port Ludlow is a beautiful, tiny port town on the Olympic Peninsula and unless you’re trying to get there, you’ll miss it.  In the 1800s it was a port for tall ships; today it’s a port for local boaters.  And there’s nothing like a Port Ludlow sunset in the marina.

When to visit Port Ludlow

You can plan a trip for a fun weekend away or nice day at Port Ludlow any time of year. Located on a small bay, Port Ludlow is relatively sheltered so even in the crappiest of weather it’s beautiful. Of course the best time to visit is late spring or early summer. With the PNW’s best weather being in May and late June (not early June), you’ve got the best chance of sunshine and the most active wildlife in the area.

Activities in Port Ludlow

Since we live in the area, our primary reasons for visiting Port Ludlow are for nice dinners (date night!) and movies on the lawn, but there is much more, particularly if you just want a relaxing weekend away.

If you’re a golfer, there is a beautiful golf course (green fees from $25 – $60) that’s open year round. For kayakers, you can either bring your own and put in in the marina or you can rent kayaks by the hour/day. If stand up paddleboarding is more of your thing, SUP rentals are an option in the marina too.

The walking trails around Port Ludlow offer great exercise and photo ops. Watch for eagles, herons, otters, seals, and even the occasional black bear. While you can probably observe eagles and seals from the benches by the water at the Resort at Port Ludlow, getting out and walking or biking is the best way to see wildlife and enjoy the PNW forest.

Summer idea:  each summer, we are able to go see movies on the lawn.  Two hundred of your closest friends wrapped in blankets in the rain watching Cool Runnings (or something else).  True story and so much fun.

Other nearby attractions

If you’re looking for a day trip out of Port Ludlow, popping across the Hood Canal Bridge to Port Gamble is a nice activity. Another old port town, Port Gamble has been well preserved and is now a cute historic district with dining, artisan shops, an historic Victorian mansion, and kayak rentals. Our kids love the park in the center of town for both unwinding and as being THE REASON to visit Port Gamble.

Port Townsend is our other top suggestion if you’re doing a weekend at Port Ludlow. About 25 minutes north, Port Townsend is the original Victorian seaport of Washington. Check out our whole article on Port Townsend for the full rundown of fun, history and nature in our hometown.

Highlights at the Resort at Port Ludlow  

We love the Resort at Port Ludlow.  We go there often because it’s nice to just hang out in the sun and watch the boats come into the marina.  Also, our oldest loves the totem pole.  It’s a fascinating piece that towers over the lawn, and our dudes love totem poles anyways, so it’s the natural attraction when we visit.  It’s appropriately weathered and portrays the history of Port Ludlow and its residents, from natives to settlers.  After a nice sit, some time watching a local harbor seal or two and letting the boys get out their extra energy, it’s nice to head into the Fireside Restaurant for an amazing, PNW fresh dinner.

We’re lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest for so many reasons: totem poles, evergreen forests, salmon, sunsets.  From the Fireside Restaurant there’s an amazing view of the marina with the sun setting behind it.  You can sit outside or inside, and either is great (and they have heaters for cool nights).  Our recommendation is always the salmon, no matter how it’s being prepared when you visit.  So good. Other wonderful meals have included mussels, house-made pastas, gniocchi, locally sourced salads and more.

Favorite time of day at Port Ludlow

The reflections that happen at Port Ludlow are amazing because the sunset creates the perfect light for silhouettes and being an inland cove, the water is always still, unless a sailboat creates gentle ripples.  Plan your dinner to fall either right before or just after sunset, as that’s when it’s the most gorgeous.

Staying at the Inn at Port Ludlow

We haven’t gotten to stay here yet, so we have zero feedback. We can attest to the gorgeous public spaces and the wonderful dining and ammenities, but not the hotel rooms. I’m sure they’re amazing. Perhaps we’ll get to check them out this spring!  In the meantime, check out the Inn’s website for more details and booking information.

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